Sunday, Ziim and I went to visit Miracle and her parents. They live at Owode ajegunle, on the way to Ikorodu town.
Miracle’s father, MrJ. had contacted the CpCenter sometimes last year after he saw Ziim and on a TV show, “His word made Flesh”..yes ke, we were on Tv..right eye rolling up.
Mr J., Miracle’s father came with a pathetic story; his wife according to him, abandoned him with his then three year old daughter who has cerebral palsy. He said the child is also blind. Hm.. wife abandoning a husband? That sounds strange around here, it is usually the other way. The dark side of me was happy, good for men, taste your own medicine it says!! But the other side was like, this must be a terrible woman, poor man, how does he cope, bath a challenged child, feed her, most importantly take her for her hispital appointments, as in, will he back her (no, he does not have a car) or carry her on his shoulder? Na wao oh!
The CpCenter does not run a boarding facility which is what he wanted. We can only assist if he could bring the child to the center daily. We could share with him things we do in the center so he could try doing same for his daughter. He did not show much interest. I asked that he brings the child to the center for some form of assessment. He expressed the challenge of carrying the child to take public transport, but he would try and get a friend to bring them with his car. We offered little money then. He left with a promise to bring the child for me to see. He never did.
Once in a while, I call to ask after the child, Miracle. He comes around once in a while too. He expressed how difficult he finds it to do any work as there is nobody to leave the child with and go to work. Each time he goes out, the child is left alone at home!!!! Yes, so he said. Thank goodness, oyibo (foriegners) are not reading this, even if they do, they have no powers over us or they would report him to some authourity that might take the child from him. Each time he visited, I gave him some money to buy something for the child. I have not seen him since the year started, though I have spoken to him. The last time I called, he said he had an accident and that his hand is on cast. How is he coping with child I wondered. I have guilt feeling each time I think of him and his child, shouldn’t I show more care? Like visiting the child instead of waiting for the man to come and I give some miserable change.
So it was that on Sunday, I decided to go. He had told me that they live in Ikorodu, I was not looking forward to the trip, think of all the traffic on that road. But my conscience won’t let me be. But what’s your own, that “d” part would ask, don’t you have enough on your plate? Why do you like to take antibiotics for another man’s infection? The the other side speaks up, haba Nonye, this is lenten session, you are not doing much of fasting from food, yes you need all the energy to lift Ziim, but this too could do, also it is Cp awareness month. Visiting with Ziim is some form of awareness for the neighbours who may have been having some fetish thoughts about him and the child. Go, Nonye go, it kept screaming at me. This side wins always, no matter how I fight it, so I called him, told him to send his address to me.
After mass, I saw Mrs O and asked that she accompanies Ziim and I to what the Legionaries or members of St. Vincent De Paulwould call home visitation. She agreed. We went home changed out of our church dresses. I made lunch for Ziim, and looked around for what to take along. You do not go on such visitations empty handed. We took some food item, diapper must be a challenge, so take some, and some cash.
It was good we went. I will not bore you with the details, but I found out the man said a lot of things that were far from the truth. The first was where he lives; he lives at Owode -Ajegunle which is just after mile 12, a good distance from Ikorodu.The wife was there, he actually has four children, Miracle is the second child, the wife is nursing a three month old baby! So what of the story of the abandoned husband??? He was too embarrased to say any reasonable thing, the only truth appeared to be the existence of the child, who is four but looks two. Did not like what I saw. See for yourself…
I gave them a big talking to. A child is a gift, any child is, what do you do with a gift, more importantly what do you do with a special gift which is what a child with disability is. We had met him at his church with his pastor and the wife. We went back to the church (a walking distance to his house) and in the presence of his pastor I lambasted him. All while I was talking the pastor and the wife were silent. It was the pastor’s wife who responded when I finished. She started by saying that my visit is her prayer for the child answered. He asked the man how many times she had spoken to him about their attitude to that child. Talk, talk, talk, his mouth was in permanent shut up with his head bowed low. Well, bottom line, what to do with the child?
We worked out anarrangement to get the child to the center daily (it is a straight BRT bus from there to Iporin, then one keke to the Center) The pastor and his wife will assist with transportation, but first, clean up the child, ge her to the hospital for proper medical check up and try and feed her well. We gave him what we brought for the child.
Hm.. giift! What do you do with a gift? Often it is appreciated. And a special gift? Treasured. Some parents with children with Cp I know do not treasure their special gifts. The children are practically abandoned as if
waiting praying for them to die. I appreciate the difficulty in parenting a child with disability particularly Cp, but it does have its joys. These children are gifts just like all other children and they should be treasured. If you have a child with Cp, please do take care of the child very well. It could be overwhelming and sometimes painful, but the pains do not go away by neglecting the child. Like some one said, every child is a gift.They just unwrap their packages at different times. What do you do with yours?